Friday, December 19, 2008

Special Angels

I haven't the slightest clue where the stone in the path came from. It was just there beneath my feet, and the next thing I knew I was on my knees in the dust. I sat there sore and bruised wondering if I should get up and keep going or if maybe I should just sit and wallow in my misery for a little while. I really didn't feel like moving on. It seemed, at that moment, like it would be much easier and less painful to just sit and nurse my wounds.

About the time I had myself convinced that moving would be more than I could possibly deal with, an angel appeared and knelt beside me. She spoke only a few words, helped me to my feet, dusted me off and was gone.

I looked at the road before me, so much beauty and joy lay ahead. So many things to see, people to meet and pleasures to savor. I looked down the rock that had caused me so much trouble, so much pain and realized how small and insignificant it was.

Good friends, angels when you don't even know you need one. Giving just what you need, just when you need it the most.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The road that leads to forever...

"What do you want" he asked? "What would make you happy"? I cringe when passing the wedding section of the party store or the wedding planners shop down town. How could he even think the idea of being married would appeal to me? I stared at my dinner, now cold and very unappealing. I poked at it and twisted the pasta on my fork. "You and our family" was my response. My eyes welled up and I looked at him looking at me. His gaze was intense and penetrated straight into my heart. I explained how I was opposed to the idea of weddings that came from a can and being married because it seemed the thing to do. But, the idea of declaring my love and faith fullness to him for all time and sharing the rest of my life with him as his wife would be a wonderful thing.

He turned my chair to face his and grasped both my hands. His gaze never faltered and his words were strong, "will you marry me"? The shock that went though me numbed me for a second and I felt like I was looking down at myself sitting there, facing my love with his hands wrapped around mine. I thought he might be joking or just asking if that was something I wanted in the future. When I realized he was truly asking me to be his wife my response was a resounding "yes, now and forever yes".

Later he took a ring and placed it gently on my finger. It is beautiful beyond words and despite it being made of candy I can want no other.

My heart is full to the point of over flowing. He is a dream made real, my missing half now found and we have forever before us to enjoy whatever adventures come our way.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And The Journey Goes On

I was sitting and thinking of how to write about all that I have lost and then found in the past year. As I pondered this I realized that I have in fact lost nothing and found and entirely new world and life.

I have found that my faith is greater than ever because I had to take the time to look for it. My marriage of 15 years is over but born from the pain was the strength to step through the door that was opened in front of me. The door that led to a friend, partner and a love I had only dreamed of. I learned how to look for the blessings in the little things, how to not take even a minute for granted. I learned to love, to trust and to believe. I found friends I never new I had and how to let myself be loved by the ones that have always been there. I learned that just when I think I can't take another step forward a Divine power steps in and carries me... often in the form of a special angel sent at just the right moment.

There is no starting over because I will never go back. It's just the next stone on the path, the next part of the journey. And, with The Tribe in tow and my Prince Charming at my side I eagerly await the adventures that lie just around the bend.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Special

Since I was little I have loved Thanksgiving over all other holidays. There were many years I wondered why, as I was just kind of treading water, not moving forward and certainly not finding much to be thankful for. Time has shown me that many blessings are the unseen ones.

When I was little Thanksgiving was the one time when all the family was together. It was a time to share stories, laughter and soak up the wondrous warmth that comes from being with those you love the most. As years went by our family grew up and apart and Thanksgiving became a time of memories and warm thoughts of those that were close only in our hearts.

Every year brings change, some good and some not so good. This year has brought more changes than I could have ever imagined. I have new friends, new family and a love that I thought could only happen in fairy tales. This Thanksgiving is the first day of the rest of my life. A life of dreams and magic and hope long lost. A day to remember, reflect, laugh, love and bask in the warmth of family. Those that are still not here in body, you are with me in spirit and the magic of the day will be yours too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Post Pennsic

Mists swirled in the darkness and drum beats pounded in the distance. The night was alive with flickering torches, and fires. Singing, laughter and random silliness abound. It was a different world. Someplace beyond imagining and yet it was real and I was there. Pennsic in the daylight is a place if wonder at night it turns into a place beyond belief.

We arrived about mid-day on Saturday only to sit in the blazing sun for an hour waiting our turn to drive forward and wait another 45 minutes in line to check in. Then the real fun began. We set up camp in a flat barren field that a day later would be an entire city of small encampments with tents, pavilions, showers, kitchens, armor stands, and common areas. Every where people worked to create their home for the next two weeks. Before my eyes an new world unfolded like a beautiful butterfly emerging from her gray cocoon. Banners and flags, medieval heraldry and thousands of people dressed in period garb.

For two weeks the folks of our fair shire cooked, cleaned and laughed and worked together. We started out as good friends and ended as a close family. We fed royalty, sang songs, told stories and shared much. We went to classes and fought for our kingdom on the battle field. We spent time with old friends and made many of new ones.

The days were hot and the nights cool, sometimes even cold. I laughed and sang more than I thought possible. When it was time for good byes I wept bitter tears. Words can't describe the roller coasters I rode, the feelings I felt. By the final Sunday the tents were gone and we were packed to head home. The magic had faded but I know it will be back next year. And God willing I will be there to live it all again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to War I Go....

G-ma asked me last night while a group of us swarmed around the house like bees in a clover patch why I hadn't posted in so long. I guess it's because I just didn't have things sitting in my head wanting to be written down. Don't get me wrong, tons of wonderful things have happened since my last entry. Many that I should have written about. They just weren't calling me to write about them.

I don't know if was her asking or my brain spinning with excitement that has pulled my fingers to the keyboard but, here I am.

Last year at this time I was out at the bower with my Gyps digging though her boxes of garb and helping her get ready to leave for the Pennsic War held each year at Coopers Lake campground in Pennsylvania. It's a huge two week medieval gathering, housing nearly 15,000 people. There are classes on nearly everything one can imagine in the medieval world and and entire week of rattan smashing, shield crushing battles. I wanted so badly to go and this year I get to. But with a sad heart it's without my newly married, uber busy, rocking the world, Gyps.

My weapons, armor, garb and feast gear are packed. In just a few hours Mouse and I pull out to go meet up with some of then many new friends I have made this past year. I have the camera and will have many pictures to post when I get back in August. I know I'm going to have the time of my life and my wonderful sister will be with me in spirit. And when I return there will be many stories, pictures and presents to share!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Heavy Fighter Bling (cross post)

Many people have helped me, pushed me and smacked me into making my dream of becoming a heavy fighter in the SCA come true. My friend Walbach went a step further. He made my sword, gave me a shield that no longer worked for him and made me a new grip for it. He made me leg armor and he completely revamped my helm so that it fit properly and so I could actually see out of it. Walbach he is is kind of heart and gentle of spirit... oh and he kicks my butt often. My most precious piece of heavy fighting bling is the helm that he worked so hard to make pretty (the eyebrows rawk).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back to the Real World

A good friend told me it will take a least a week to get back into the swing of "mundane" life after being away at a large medieval event. I think he was talking about an event lasting a week or more but I am struggling with the real world after being gone just three days. Once away it was so easy to let go of the daily frustrations and issues. When I was hungry I ate, when I was thirsty I drank and when I was tired I slept. When I wanted company I was camped with a wonderful group of some of my best friends all I had to do was step out of my tent. When I wanted to learn or see something new I went for a stroll about the camp ground and met wonderful new people that were more than willing to share their fire and teach any willing learner about their skills.

Now I am planning meals for nine, working out schedules and plotting out how to get everything done in a day that needs doing. I have a stove and a dishwasher and I am expected to use it... cold bagels were fine with me, no clean up. The phone is ringing and the entire tribe needs mom time. I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I am blessed beyond words and I'm so grateful for my family and all that is required to keep it going. It's who I am and what I do. But.... the escape was bliss. Adult time with no "maaammmmm, I want, I need, get me" or even "wipe my butt". When it was time to head home I was ready to go and home was where I wanted to be.

So, when do we leave for the next event???

Monday, May 19, 2008

Practice for War

Once a year for a two week period 10,000 people converge on a Pennsylvania camp ground for the Pennsic War. SCA members and folks who just want to participate in recreating the beauty, romance and chivalry of the middle ages come together to learn, teach, dance, tell stories and to fight.

This past weekend was the practice for this event. Fighters from all over gathered together to test their skill and practice fighting as units. Before being allowed to fight in anything other than practice novice fighters have to be tested and approved by two official marshals. They must prove they know and understand the various rules and that they are not going to hurt themselves nor be a danger to others on the field of battle. This weekend at this event my turn to authorize and prove myself worthy to join the ranks of the "big boys".

Authorizing really isn't a big thing. As long as you can hit hard enough to be taken seriously and not so hard as to hurt someone you will pass. But for me it was huge. I have worked for eight months to learn as much as I possibly can. An entire team of people have mentored me, guided me and pushed me to get me ready for my authorization. This was my chance to prove that I had been listening.

I went through all the questions, faced off against my opponent and fought him with all I had. I passed and I did good. I'm a real heavy fighter now. I get to play with the big boys and that is just what I did the rest of the day.

I'm home and the tents are dry, the mud washed out of my gowns. Now I'm just counting the days until the next battle.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

See Ya Soon Grandma

At 96 years old my Grandma was a spunky, tough little nut. She wore her silver hair in plaits on each side of her head and loved to play with porcelain dolls. She had a smile that lit up a room and was sweet as an angel, so long as she got the candy that the nurses at her home would sneak in for her.

She was a woman filled with the spirit and said she was planning to live to see Jesus come again. At the time I know she meant in the flesh but on Tuesday we found that she had to settle for the Spirit. She finally got tired, her mortal body could take no more and she gave in to the the peaceful rest that comes from living a good life, loving well and being loved and knowing her next vision was to be of her savior.

Rest well Grandma. I know that this isn't good-by, just see you soon. Grandma's 96th birthday, May 2007.


Edna J. Evers, 96, passed away Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at Chico Care Center. Edna was born on May 19, 1911 in Hamilton City to Albert and Tisha Gilmore. She graduated from Chico High School in 1929 and married Henry K. "Hank" Evers in Reno, NV on September 9, 1929. They resided in Stockton until 1942 when they returned to the Evers family ranch in Butte Creek Canyon. She stayed at the ranch until 1981 when her husband died and she then moved to Casa de Flores mobile home park in Chico. Edna is also preceded in death by her first son, Henry "Hank" Evers and her sister, Margaret Grater of Red Bluff.

Edna is survived by her daughter, Kathleen (Denis) Beach of Green Spring, WV; son, Patrick (Janice) Evers of Pleasanton; daughter-in-law, Marilyn Evers of Chico; grandchildren, Denise Wenner of Harpers Ferry, WV, Troy Beach of Magalia, Karen Flatten of Greenville, SC, Julie Hagey of Penn Valley, Susan Evers McCauley and David Evers both of Chico and 19 great- grandchildren.

Edna's greatest love in life were her family, animals and her flowers. She always managed to find time to care for her very large garden of flowers, irises and roses being her favorite. She also loved needle work and did very fine embroidery, quilting and crocheting. In later years when she was not able to work with fine thread, she used yarn to crochet tops on towels to hang in the kitchen. At age 94, she was still producing eight towels daily. Her family and friends have distributed these towels country wide. Edna will always be loved and missed by those she left behind.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Return to the Arches

My first hiking adventure in Shenandoah National Park left me full of wonder and longing to return. This time Gyps and I had the chance to share the beauty and peace we found while following the arches to glorious falls at the bottom of the canyon with those we love the most. She and her new hubby, Wolf went on ahead while Todd, The Tribe and I followed behind at a much slower pace.

It was an amazing experience to watch them find all the treasures along the trail. Tree stump dragons appeared before them only to be squealed at and climbed upon. Their voices permeated the tranquility of the winter forest scape before us as each found new and exciting things at each bend in the trail. And, as on my previous hike with Gyps, always before us and leading us on were the arches.

The falls at the bottom were even more beautiful draped in their winter glory. We longed to stay and visit with Gypsy and Wolf bur our visit had to be short. We still had a passel of little legs to get a mile and a half up the side of the mountain before it got too cold.

The last mile if hike out was steep with the worst being the half mile at the very end. BJ, being the smallest had to privilege of being carried on me or Todd's back most of the way out. Nathan plodded along like the energizer bunny and Farm Boy took position as rear guard with ever a stick or branch (sword of course) in hand. There were only a few grumbles as legs and lungs were pushed past the levels of comfort. All pain was forgotten as we sought the warm comfort of the van, where we snacked on jerky, trail mix, cheese nips and our water bottles.

The crowning glory of the day was sunset over the valley. I have been witness to many a sunset and I feel certain this one was in the running for most amazing. We got back to the villa tired and sore but with memories that would be with us forever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Making Memories

I can't really say if Massanutten will ever be the same after being over run by the Tribe. I can say that we will never be the same after a week in the mountains, (with a fireplace, hot tub and sauna of course).

Just having time away from the everyday responsibilities of home, school and life in the winter as a family was amazing. For a week we got to be just a regular family. There were no appointments, visits, social workers, case workers, reports to file or logs to fill out. We swam, hiked, snow tubed and played. We made memories that will last a life time.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tribal Adventures Forthcoming

Not only was WWW (wild womens weekend) this past September tons of fun, spiritually invigorating and flat out amazing it also resulted in us buying a time share. Traveling with seven kids is not easy or cheap. Add to that I really can't go too far for too long with out my Gyps and a time share just seemed to be the perfect solution. So, the tribe, which now includes Auntie Gyps and Unkin Wolf are headed off an exciting adventure in the mountains of central Virginia.

We have board games, swimming suites for the indoor heated pool, movies, hiking shoes and snow suites. Finish the laundry and packing and we are outta here...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happily Ever After

"Happily ever after starts now". ~Gyps on her wedding day

Princess Buttercup, eat your heart out. My Gyps has found her Prince Charming, otherwise know as Wolf. Yes, this was a kissing movie and they haven't stopped yet!

Only A Foster Parent

I was talking to my little sister who is currently being confronted with one of the many difficult and painful parts of being a foster parent. She was in a very low mood and as she shared her story my heart broke for her. As she got the conclusion she made the statement that was like a blow to the head. "What else can I do, I'm only a foster parent? I can't even fight for him".

This is a woman that has dedicated her life to caring for broken innocent little ones that desperately need unconditional love. She gives every part of herself to her children, those she birthed and those that were handed to her by a social worker. She goes to court, meetings and works out visits. She goes to doctors appointments, kisses hurts and loves away tears. She is the a living representation of unconditional love but she is "only a foster parent". She has no rights, no say, no voice.

I am angry, I feel her pain and the pain of my other dearest friends that live this day after day. So many that work so hard to do what is right knowing the pain and frustration that are part of it.

The seeds of unconditional love that have been planted in these children are the fruits of the labor. We may not see them grow to be adults, we many not have any say in how they are raised or the choices they make. All we can do is pray that they will remember they are special and that there are people out there that love them and gave all they had, even if it was only for a little while. Then, maybe being "only a foster parent" will mean something.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow Day

At 6am we still had a two hour delay. Ahhh, I snuggled back under the comforter and back into a warm, fluffy, blissful sleep. At 7am I checked again and schools were closed. We had before us an official snow day! By 8:30 the Tribe was fed and we were out the door. Kids, cats, dogs, we all joined in.

It was a day for kids to totally immerse themselves in the joy and purity of freshly fallen snow and childhood. It was a day for parents and grandparents to revel in the joy of family. It was just a totally awesome, amazing, blessed day.

Grandma's Teddy Dog above, the Tribe below:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Marching Mouse

In her first parade with the school band Mouse marched, and played and marched some more. It sounded great and she didn't fall down, over the kid in front of her or throw up. I think I would have done all three. Way to go Mouse!

♥x♥x Tinkerbell - Who said ♥x♥x

Another sent to me with a "look Mommy, it's you and your song". I guess though the eyes of my kids I can be 10 feet tall. Thanks guys.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where do I go now??

Each day seems to fly past even faster than the one before. I know I posted a few times this month but I've only vague recollections of what I wrote. Mom has been sick, in the hospital and is now home. My dearest Gyps is engaged to her prince charming and all her dreams are coming true. Christmas is just around the corner and I'm still trying to figure out what street I'm on.

Despite all the chaos Thanksgiving was truly a day to give thanks for all the blessings of this past year. The dishes are done, turkey is gone and the kids back in school. I guess it's time to find a street sign and determine where I go next.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

William Tell Mom Sayings

The Mouse comes in and tells me I just have to see this... "It sounds exactly like you". I listened, she is so right it's scary. Thanks Mouse!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Keeping the Past Alive

In the fall I ran the fields, climbed the trees and played in the barns. The fruit trees, figs, wild plumbs, apples, persimmons, grapes, pomegranates, quince, pears, black berries and walnuts. A bounty to be shared by all. Wood was cut for winter fires and the sound of saws and ax permeated the crisp cool air.

Winter in the hay loft and rain on the tin roof. Wet and cold and mud. Fire glow from the stove on the ceiling. The smell of Grandma cooking bacon and coffee in the morning on the wood cook stove. Story after story of hard work, battles fought, cattle drives, love, death, joy and sadness. Dinner at the big oak table when all the adults talked about the work done that day and what need doin' tomorrow.

Spring time brought baby calves with big brown eyes, sweet white faces and noses just made to meep, and new baby kittens in the wood shed. Blankets of wild flowers covered the fields and meadows. The new leaves on the trees made arches and canopies over the road that led to enchanted glades where fairies played. My brother and I played cowboys and Indians, knights in armor, gold prospectors and hunted for caves to use as forts at the base of the cliffs. Dreaming of the past was easy because there it was, so close, almost alive.

Summers were brutally hot. Riding fence lines, turning the water in the fields, moving sprinkler pipe, dodging rattlers and dust, everywhere dust. At night we fell asleep to the sounds of rainbirds in the fields, cowbells and mamma cows lowing to their calves. Summer meant watermelons on Thursday afternoons, Ice cream and RC Cola.

It was in early June, the day before my birthday, when they found Grandpa asleep under a walnut tree. His old straw hat pulled down over his face, just taking a rest before supper. Only this time he didn't wake up. The ranch and his dream of it died with him but no one would admit it. They moved on, working cattle, fixing fence, cleaning the ditch and growing kiwis.

Grandma moved to town and new people were brought in to "take care of things". I grew up and moved away. The fabric began to tear, history to fade.

For 25 years they have been holding on. My uncles, my mom, desperately trying stitch together the decaying fabric of a life long gone. The sheds and barns are piles of rubble. The fences down and fields dried and brown. The battle with the blackberries lost. No pasture means no cows, no horses.

Now it's gone, nothing more to be done. The land is safe in the ownership of a government agency. The artifacts destroyed or stolen over the years. The sounds of dogs barking when some one drives down the road. Hoof beats and hollering as cattle are moved past. Squeaking gate hinges and the smell of hay, leather, irrigated fields and cow pies are all just memories.

This started as a short listing of my memories of my Grandfather's California cattle ranch. It has been in my mothers family for I believe five or six generations. This past week it was sold. As my thoughts turned into words on the page I realized my short list of memories has taken on a life of its own. Memories fade over time and lie like the buildings and fences, the land and the people, they are lost. But words can carry on eternal. Written stories can stitch together the failing fabric of our past and create a legacy of remembrance for generations forward.

My children will never see the old wood cook stove, the HUGE fire place with the iron cooking arms that was built out of quarts from the fields around the house, the barns, cattle shoots and roping pens, the paths I rode or the creeks I swam in. Their eyes will never see but they will know the stories, feel the joy and the heart ache that comes from being part of a family that settled a land, loved it and became one with it.

Mamma, for you I promise all that is left now will NOT be lost. It can't be taken, sold or stolen. It will live on forever.

Autunm Sky Fire - Sunrise

To my Newest Reader

02:00 in the morning, really it's 03:00 but we set the clocks back last night, I am awake just enough that I can't get my mind to shut off. A million and one things spin through my head and my first response is hot tea and to write. I wander down to the computer and am greeted my six new mail messages, all comments on my posts.

As I start to read my head clears a little and a bolt of lightning smacks me between they eyes. My newest reader has held a special spot in my life for thirteen years. She fills the world with joy and lightens a room with her contagious smile. The day she was born my world changed forever. I became an aunt, my brother a dad, my parents became grandparents and the world would never be the same. The sun was a little brighter and the world was just a nice place to be.

In the years to follow my brother and his wife would increase the worlds population by two more. Like their older sister they are amazing little bundles of joy, inquiry, wonder and love. Of all the good things my little brother has done these guys are by far his best work.

Thanks for reading Tay and thanks for the courage to comment. You have always been a strong little girl, full of wisdom beyond your years. Now I see you are growing into a power house of a young woman. Don't be afraid to play hard, love big and strive for greatness. If along the way you stumble, and you will, it's okay. You have a family that loves you to pick you up, brush you off and send you back in for the next round. If you do fall and it hurts we are here to hold you. I love you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Re: Introspection (Fighting Back)

After posting to my blog I venture out to the ones I have been so negligent in reading the past few weeks. I read though Introspection posted by my dearest Gyps. I am cut to the core by her words and feel moved to comment. But, as the comment progresses I see that it's just not enough to share my thought about her post with her... it needs to go further.

How many little girls desperately need to hear "You are amazing, wonderus, strong beyond your belief. You deserve to be safe. Hold my hands, let's go into the darkness and find..." what ever fear they need to face.

The world is full of "little girls" of all ages that have been beaten and broken by sticks, knives, fists, guns and worst of all words. They live their lives in a shadowed land never seeing the vibrancy and colors of life as it's meant to be. They are haunted by the evil that permeates their lives and may very well survive only as the shell of person they could be.

My mom, my husband, my friends, even my kids wonder why I love to fight. Why a kind hearted woman that cries over Kodak commercials would find joy in learning to use strength, skill and a wooden sword to pound on a fence post, a punching bag, a tree, or a heavily armored person?

As women we are taught to love and nurture and when things hurt us we take the blow and don't let anyone see the bruise. My world is full of children that have been broken by people that claim to love them. I look at their scars, let my heart feel their pain, but I'm not allowed to fight back. I hear about the women, girls, sold into slavery, little girls that have their bodies mutilated or are murdered for their families honor but can do nothing to help and only little to bring about change.

So, I fight just to be able to fight. In a safe, contained environment I can let the anger boil over, allow the rage to blast out. When I get a bruise I am proud of it. It hurt and I survived and don't have to be ashamed because I got it fighting back. The fence, the tree, my opponent can be anything from the system, the governments, the abusers or those that would turn a deaf to the screams.

Words are powerful. People, even just one can bring about change but sometimes it just feels good to swing hard and let it connect! Then take a hand and head into the darkness!

Finding Balance

Somewhere along the way I got tangled up in armor, swords, medieval garb, a new pony for grandma and the tribe and a few dozen other things. The more I had to write about the less time I had to write. Now, a month later I find myself with a new tabard of black and red, new armor (new to me anyway), a sword and shield to practice with and a new pony at the Bower.

October was a month jam packed with goodies and joy. Here I am on the first of November wanting to just sit and read the news paper. A few hours maybe and then on to the next project.

Balance is taking a few minutes for a hot soak and to let the Advil permeate the blood stream and take the edge off the bruises before I go looking for the next adventure! Look out November, Tink in on the move!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is it Autumn YET?

The top 5 ways to tell it's autumn (at least at my house):

#5 - five permission slips for field trips to the pumpkin patch come home from school in the same week.

#4 - The pie pans call out from the cabinet... "take us out, use us".

#3 - My husband hauls up the crates with snow suites, hats, gloves and boots. I get to find gear that fits everyone, boots that are for a left and a right foot and then find a place to keep it out of the way until needed. **we are talking 7 snow suites, 14 boots, 14 gloves, 7 hats and that's just for the kids.

#2 - My fingers begin to itch and tingle telling me that I need to park my butt and work on stitching projects.

#1 - The critters start duking it out to determine who gets to sit on my lap and who just gets to sit against me. Man I love Autumn!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Clouds Birth of the Beat

This is my dad's perspective on clouds. Thanks for sharing Daddy!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Bee Tree

"The Bee Song"

Bees, Bees, Bees, Bees

Buzzin' in bushes, buzzin' in trees

Buzzin' around, wherever they please

There's nothing so sweet, There's nothing so sweet,

There's nothing so sweet as a honey bee. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

author unknown

Sweet Surrender

I am the parent, the adult and there I was ranting and raving like a loon. I wanted to have a big ole' fat tantrum, kick and scream and yell bad mean words. My anger welled up and I wanted to lash out. It seems that no matter how organized I am there are some mornings that we just can't get it together. Like a spoiled apple once one goes the rest are right behind. Yesterday was one of those mornings.

Once the kids were at school and I was on the road to the Bower the pain and frustration hit with the force of a freight train. I questioned my calling, my life, my God. Was this really His plan? What would make me think that I could help these children? On and on I went berating myself, beating myself up, questioning my path and my faith.

I pulled up at the Bower, cut the engine and stepped out of the truck. As I did a weight fell from my shoulders and I was able to take a deep breath for the first time all morning. I grabbed a halter and headed for the pasture. Beauty and an overwhelming feeling of peace surrounded me as I made my way thought the fields.

I found my mare grazing in a wooded area with dappled sunlight sprinkling down on her. As I neared her she looked up at me with her soft brown eyes and walked toward me. When I was close she reached her nose out and leaned her head against me. As I rested my head on hers the last few dregs of pain and frustration drained away. I rested against my beautiful grey girl and just breathed. Her name, Angel's Gift, is really a description rather than a title. Thank you Gyps, my sister, my angel.

John Denver sings in his song "Sweet Surrender" (one of my many favorites)

And I dont know what the future is holdin in store

I dont know where Im goin, Im not sure where Ive been

Theres a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me

My life is worth the livin, I dont need to see the end

Sweet, sweet surrender

With my best friend in the round pen doing what she does so well, my beautiful "gift" trotting gracefully around me, the multitude of gifts from God assaulting my senses and a peace in my heart that comes from walking through the storm and seeing the rainbow on the other side. How could I do anything but surrender and know it's all in His hands.

Enjoy the moment, step forward in faith and know that if you stumble there is always an Angel to catch you and God to heal the wounds.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"Just Like You" a poem written by a foster dad

This peom was written by a very good friend who is a foster dad. He and and wife are amazing people who have a special way of seeing into the heart of a child... especially a hurting child. The world needs more people like them. Hurting children need more people like them.

Just like you

I hurt, I cry, I don't know why,
Just ripped out of all I knew,
You want me to act like you?

My mommy was wrong,
My daddy doesn't care,
You want me to act like you?

You don't understand,
They did what they could,
You want me to act like you?

You're not my mom,
You're not my dad,
You want me to act like you?

I am okay,
Now leave me alone,
I don't want to be like you.

I was doing fine,
I can take care of myself,
I don't want to be like you.

I don't want to hug,
Don't hold my hand,
I don't want to be like you.

Just take me back,
You don't understand,
I don't want to be like you.

Don't leave me alone,
Don't put me behind,
I just want to be like you.

Just hold me close,
Please hold me tight,
I just want to be like you.

It's just not fair,
My parents just didn't care,
I just want to be like you.

Please don't give up,
You're all that I've got,
I just want to be like you.

By:Jamie Holben (foster dad)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Swordsmanship 101

"Of all the people you will fight your biggest competitor is going to be yourself. Strive to improve each time you go out on the field. The Knight that has been training for twelve years may defeat you with the first blow. Learn from him and next time it may take him two blows to take you out. Don't try to do and what the person next to you is doing. Work to improve yourself, compete against yourself and you are winning".

Powerful words from the kind Knight that so patiently fielded my questions, explained how to make a sword, hold a shield, showed me stances and strikes. Powerful words that realized later are applicable in all aspects of life. (When I get his name next Sunday I will sure to update this as he deserves full credit for this post).

This evening I stood beside Mouse in Karate practicing kata over and over again. Sweat ran down our faces and the sleeves of our gee stuck to our arms making the movements that much more difficult. We were struggling to get our stances right, our strikes correct, wrists straight, fist tight, heels on the floor, pivot on the balls of the feet, stay low, use hips for power, and the best of all... remember to breath. As frustration filled me and my body was saying "you will never get this right" I could hear Sensei's voice in my head asking "have you done it a thousand times yet, ten thousand?". Again we went through the moves, then again and again.

On the way home from class the kind Knight's words came back to me. Tomorrow I will do kata again and tomorrow I will do better. I will remember more, I will be stronger and wiser than I was today. I WILL defeat my greatest enemy, the part of me that wants to give up, to walk away, that tells me "you can't do it, whats the use in even trying".

For sure good Sir Knight, chivalry lives on!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Promise of the Arches

It was nearly 5:30 pm when Gyps and I arrived at the trail head that would take us to one of waterfalls we hoped to see on our Wild Women's Weekend. We knew that dark was about 7:30 and the falls were only a mile or so in. Plenty of time to get in, take the photos we wanted and jet back out before dark. Hurriedly we grabbed water bottles, cameras, tripods and headed down the trail.

The trail was amazing, the hike was spirit filled and uplifting. The 32 point buck (okay, maybe he was only a 12 pointer), was awe inspiring.

All along the way we found natural arches over the trail. To me it felt as if they were showing us the path to something extra special. Calling out, "follow us, we have something amazing to share with you", and as the waterfall was still ahead we were inclined to follow.

The hike in was all down hill and the impending darkness hurried our steps. We found the stream as it cascaded over a small rock face making a beautiful little fall. It was cool and shady, "wonderful waterfall lighting" Gyps said. She was quickly absorbed in angles and lighting and the special magic that makes her photos so spectacular. While at the same time, I tried to figure out how to get a camera mounted on a tripod and not loose the whole thing in the stream.

It was only a short time later I realized that the sun was gone and it was time to head back if we wanted reach the trail head before total darkness set it. Since every Gypsy step is the equivalent to two Tink steps I started out and Gyps promised to follow and catch up a few minutes later. I packed up my gear, headed out of our little hollow and back to the main trail.

As I clamored up to the trail I happened to look to my left, down the trail and deeper into the canyon. Just down the path was another arch. The best one yet I thought, very oriental and it called to me. I headed down the trail to get a picture.

As I snapped the photo I realized I was hearing water falling ahead of me somewhere. I moved further down the trail and through the arch. The sound was clear and distinct, the sirens song of cascading water.

I ran back to the hollow and called to Gyps. Leaving most of our gear on the trail we followed the sound a few hundred feet until we found the source of the song that called up the trail to us.

There before us, wrapped in the shadows of evening was a three teired rock face being caressed and wrapped in a loving embrace of the mountain stream.

True to their word the arched let us to the bounty we were intended to find on this days adventure.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Answered Prayer

For a mother there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and being able to do nothing to help him. As a mother I would say that a child suffering from chronic pain would be pure torture. My dear friend and heart sister Dar suffers this torture daily as her elementary school age son Jackson, suffers from a debilitating hip disease that leaves him in constant, sever pain. He can not run or play or even sleep without being in pain. Even with pain medication he wakes at night crying out and there is little she can do to to ease his suffering. He has lived with this pain most of his life and the doctors are amazed that he can even walk.

Early in the summer the deterioration of his hip joints became so sever Jackson's case had to be referred to John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. The Doctors there said that little more could be done to help him except for major hip surgery. This surgery is not only dangerous and painful but involves a very long recovery time. Jackson wouldn't be back in school with his classmates until near Christmas.

For the entire summer Dar and her family had carry the burden that Autumn would bring even more pain and suffering upon their son. They are a family strong in faith and they didn't carry the burden alone. They handed it over to their Heavenly Father and trusted their son to His Divine care. At the same time family and friends have banded together to form a massive prayer chain lifting Jackson and his family up to the Lord. Today I received this email from Dar:

Hi everyone,
First and foremost...Praise God!! We had a great report today at Johns Hopkins!! As most of you know Jackson was secheduled for major hip surgery on Oct 12th with a tremendous recovery in store for him. Today we went for his pre-op and they did one more x-ray of his hips...and the new x-ray showed a lot of new bone growth in his hips that they didn't expect to happen. With the new bone growth being so significant the doctor has recommended we watch and wait at this time. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support, please continue to lift Jackson up in prayer for continued progress. The doctor has "insisted" that Jackson take it easy on his hips and legs and do limited
activity to give his new bone time to get strong. We will keep you all updated!!! love, Mike and Dar

Psalm 103 (1-4)
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,


When wild women get together and rejoice in nature even waterfalls sparkle!
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True Magic

I watch the black belts practice judo throws and see the strength and power that comes from technique rather than tremendous strength.

I watch Gyps with a horse and see her listen and understand as it speaks to her.

I watch my children grow, I see them becoming more unique and independent and I long for the magic, the technique, the whisper that will allow me understand them. To hear their thoughts by looking into their eyes, to feel their pain and joy with a simple touch.

A soft voice speaks to me, it says if you want to hear, take the time to really listen, if you want to feel, take the time to hug, to hold and to just be with them.

A deep sigh is followed by a prayer of thanks.

Never Give Up!

"Think of the frog with its legs hanging out of the stork's mouth and with its hand around the stork's throat. NEVER GIVE UP!" ~ Unknown

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Siege of Glengary - Part I

Bright sun shone down glaring and hot. The sent of leather, steel and sweat permeated the air as the knights passed the pavilion where we sat refreshed with cool drinks and shaded from the mid-day sun. The the ground trembled as the valiant warriors charged towards their foe, swords, shields and armored bodies smashing together in a grand crescendo. As the battle wound down water barers were called in. Beautiful ladies as elegantly and brightly adorned as butterflies bore cool refreshment to the men in arms.

The Tribe's first SCA event was a day that will not soon be forgotten. The sights, the smells, the feast, oh the feast, the kind hearts and new friends. It was with a sad hearts that we had to leave before the drumming and dancing could begin. The Tribe was worn to the point of pure exhaustion. Little eyes, red and glassy and could barely stay open. Belts had been cast off. Hay and dust covered tunics and dresses were piled to be washed. Filthy little sleepyheads piled into beds to tired to shower.

The Tribe is restless now. Counting the days until they get to start weapons training and then to the next event.

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The Siege of Glengary Part II

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The Siege of Glengary - Part III

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Saturday chosen for dojo cleaning was warm but carried the distinct crispness that comes in September. Many students had come the weekend before so I was able to have the morning with Sensei Barbara and Sensei Brett to myself.

We kicked things off with Mr. Barry's amazing coffee and conversation. Then, we went to work. Sensei Barbara and I started on the floor while Sensei Brett scrubbed sky lights. On the floor on our hands and knees we worked side by side, student and teacher. I got to hear about Barbara's trip to the orient during the summer and her broad sword training in China. We swept, washed and weeded. Sometimes talking sometimes silent, (yes I can pull of silence for a few minutes). Before I knew it I had to leave to get lunch on the table for the Tribe.

It was a wonderful morning. I left with a feeling of accomplishment, ownership and wrapped in the fleeing of closeness and friendship that comes from working as a team.

Blue Heron Dojo is a place of peace and tranquility. It is a place of learning and growth for the mind, body and spirit. My thanks to Sensei Barbara for creating such a place and for sharing it with all of us.